SMART Foundation Uses Excess Instruments to Fund School Programs
For the past ten years, a non-profit foundation in California has combined parent advocacy programs with instrument rentals in a winning combination to help save and restart music programs. This combination of parent and PTA support, along with temporary funding, has given the SMART Foundation a winning combination for music education programs as it seeks to establish “music education for ALL children.”
The SMART Foundation is supported by business organization such as the Boeing Corporation, the CPA firm of Haskell & White, and the Rutan & Tucker law firm to create a self sustaining model that grows and restarts music programs in line with national standards.
As a former music dealer, the founder, Chris Clark, saw the need for a non-profit model when his children’s school was forced to cut back on music and arts classes. “Advocacy for music education was really at a standstill when the first cuts came down,” said Clark. “We saw that, while advocacy was building, there was real need for some temporary funding so that the programs could continue. State law prohibits private enterprises from funding teacher salaries but, through the PTA and educational foundation, there was an opportunity to provide assistance and support the program in a significant way.”
Clark created the SMART Foundation (School Music/ART) to play a specific role. As a non-profit, the Foundation can work with the PTA and a school’s educational foundation directly. It can create a partnership with the school through the PTA, provide music education advocacy, parent training and school administration consulting. It can work closely with support groups such as Arts Orange County and California Alliance for Arts Education to develop systemic changes supporting arts education. It can also provide temporary and supplemental funding through its own instrument rental program. The foundation has also established its GI/FT (Giving Instruments/Finding Talent) program as way for children from modest means to participate in band and orchestra.
“We are looking for dealers that understand how an investment now can bring better opportunities in the future,” Chris says. “An ideal situation is establishing an advocacy partnership with a local PTA where a school music program has recently been lost. The supplemental funding is established through the IRP using the dealer’s excess instrument inventory. The school’s program is revived, the parent advocacy begins to build and the dealer creates cash flow he otherwise would not have had. Once funding returns to the program, the Foundation can back away, leaving the dealer with additional future business.
Contact: Chris Clark at email@example.com